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Audio CD, April 23, 2002
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Tryin' Like the Devil 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Sometimes I Think About Suzanne 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Calico Gypsy 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Bluesman 5:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. W. Lee O'Daniel and the Light Crust Dough Boys (Duet with Joe Ely) 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Not Even When It's Over 3:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Forty Hours (Features Ponty Bone) 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Deep Country Blues 4:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Are They Gonna Make Us Outlaws Again? 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Richland, Washington 2:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Nothin' But the Blues 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Up From Georgia 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. To Get Back Home 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. What Will There Be for the Children? 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. When the Fiddler Packs His Case 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Give My Love To Marie 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 23, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cimarron Records
  • ASIN: B0000630CP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,724 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is a "best of" collection containing sixteen re-worked versions of Americana artist James Talley's classic early songs from the four albums he did for major labels in the mid-1970s ("Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money," "Tryin' Like the Devil," "Blackjack Choir" & "Ain't It Somethin'"). All of the songs have been re-recorded with new arrangements, new musicians & current sonic quality.


Merle Haggard has at times been known as the Poet of the Common Man, but the title could just as easily apply to James Talley. A fine Nashville-based singer-songwriter with a gift for writing stirring portraits of working-class heroes, Talley has kicked around for years without getting the big break he deserves. In the 1970s he recorded four highly regarded albums for Capitol, none of which are currently in print. For the exquisitely beautiful Touchstones, Talley has culled 16 of his favorite songs from those albums and rerecorded them with a crack band of Texans, including guitarist Tommy Detamore (who coproduced) and fiddler Bobby Flores, both of whom worked with the late Doug Sahm. In a simple voice that sounds a bit like Tom T. Hall's, Talley sings about everyday people just barely getting by, like the "pot-bellied truckers drinkin' coffee / With a redheaded waitress named Louise" in "Tryin' Like the Devil," or the dying "black lung miner from East Tennessee" in "Give My Love to Marie." The gorgeous "Sometimes I Think About Suzanne" finds Talley reminiscing about a lost love--and wondering what might have been. Never mind that the album's 16 songs are all at least 25 years old--they're timeless. --David Hill

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Clark on April 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
James Talley's music comes out of his roots in the Southwest, part of a musical culture that, seemingly effortlessly, generated an organic blend of blues, folk, honkytonk, and big-city swing. Talley sounds like the natural heir to Bob Wills, Woody Guthrie, Henry "Ragtime Texas" Thomas, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Merle Haggard, without really sounding like any of them -- though if Guthrie had written it, the gorgeous, cryptic "Richland, Washington" would be judged among his masterpieces.
Through his uncondescending sympathies with the struggles of working people, Talley's songs often have an at least implicit political subtext, without ever devolving into preachy protest anthems or "progressive" sloganeering. This is music for grown-ups living in the real world, which is to say that you can't be there without getting your heart, and maybe even your nose, broken. Like all great artists, Talley's hand is as sure as his eye is sharp and his ear is keen. His characters are recognizable human beings, not Popular Front cartoons. If Talley has no easy answers for them, he can celebrate their endurance. The people, yes, but without tears.
Even when the subject is a familiar one, such as a rodeo rider ("Calico Gypsy") or a bluesman ("Bluesman"), Talley never falls into cliches. In their evocations of vanishing American worlds, "Gypsy" and "Bluesman" bring to mind songs that set their respective gold standards, namely Ian Tyson's "Old Cheyenne" and Bob Dylan's "Blind Willie McTell." I cannot give voice to higher praise than that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on July 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I found this CD at a bargain price and took a chance, having heard OF James Talley but never having heard him sing. The first time through it, I thought "the voice is nice, the accompaniment great, and the songs are pleasant without being special." What I meant was, none of these re-recorded 1970's compositions jumped off the disc and into my brain instantly, the way previously unfamiliar songs by Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, even John Denver might have. Heck, none of the songs on here quite reach the very best of Townes van Zandt or Guy Clark, for that matter. But they do grow on you. By the third or fourth listen, one is more and more impressed with the scope of these 16 high-quality selections. The tempos are varied, the subject matter, too, and the performer's point of view is always interesting. I agree with an earlier reviewer that "Richland, Washington", one of the shortest songs on the disc, is wonderfully stated. Also fine is the one James calls "Are They Gonna Make Us Outlaws Again?" Overall, this is a nice hour of competent, confident folk/country/blues performances. While it is my first Talley CD, no way will it be my last.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Baranyai on October 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I often get the feeling that the greatest musicians in this world are never fully given the credit and the recognition that they deserve. In a way it is like the true unknown genuis' of the world who make your "average Mensa Card carrying Geek look like Bozo The Clown" as Stephen King once wrote. I don't usually have much time for country music. They seems to be full of songs about "Good Lovin' Gone Bad and the Mean Repo man done drove away mah pickup truck and my dawg he done died and ma wife is having an affair with mah best friend and the whiskey jug is mah new best friend" and similar themes. James Talley is the exception to this country mould. He writes from the heart and soul and his songs are about Working Class men with no pretensions just trying to make a living the best way they know how. The mournful ballad "Give My Love To Marie" is a haunting song about a miner suffering from Black Lung Disease. I suggest you buy this album and you will discover a rare talent.
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By Dale E. McDaniel on August 13, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Typical of James Talley's fine work. Songs from the heart backed up by fine instrumentals. Duplicates many of the songs in the album "Journey"
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